Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Texting in Church

I'm on the road this week and away from my usual sources of inspiration for this blog, but I wanted to give you something to chew on anyway. I'm attending a conference and one of the people I shared a table with today (a late Boomer) told this true story.

He was recently visiting his grown children in another city and went with them to a service at their church. It was a mostly young congregation (Millennials and Xers) with a young minister (no older than 25, according to the storyteller). At the beginning of the sermon, the minister put a phone number up on the church projection screen and encouraged the parishoners to text him any questions they had. At the end of the sermon, the minister took out his cell phone and went through the questions he had received via text message, answering each one in detail.

My tablemate was so impressed with this technique he tried it the next time he gave a presentation. This was in a business setting, and the participants (mostly Xers and other Boomers) had been told to turn off their cell phones out of courtesy to the presenters and the other partipants. When he took the podium, he told everyone to turn their cell phones back on and to text him any questions they had during the course of his presentation. When he was done, he had his share of questions to respond to—more, he said, than after any other presentation he had ever given.

What lesson can we draw from this story? Try as I might, I'm not sure I see anything more than this—by and large, people of all generations are too bashful to stand up and ask a question in a crowded room.


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